On the final day of the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton holds a four-point lead over Donald Trump nationally in the latest— 45 percent to 41 percent — in a four-way match-up that includes Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
In this tight race, voter turnout is more critical than ever, which is why the presidential hopefuls are focusing on encouraging supporters at their respective rallies to “get out and vote” on November 8.
Since federal and state elections in the U.S. are run by the states themselves, it’s important for residents to know their state’s individual voting rules and regulations ahead of Election Day.
“No two states run their elections exactly the same, so contacting your state or local election office is the best way to find out about your state’s unique election rules,” USA.gov explains on its website.
Here’s what you need to know before you head to the polls on Tuesday:
Find out if you’re eligible to vote:
The first question you should ask yourself before heading to the polls on Tuesday: Can I vote?
There are at least 4 requirements you need to follow in order to vote:
- You have to be a U.S. citizen
- You have to meet your state’s residency requirements
- You must be 18 years or older on Election Day
- You must register to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline
To find out if you’re registered, go online and click on “check your registration info,” select your state and plug in the required information. If the site can’t find any matches based on your information, contact your local board of elections.
You canon Election Day in these states:
North Dakota: no registration required
All other states require registration in advance.
Where to vote on Election Day:
Polling locations are assigned according to your residential address. If you’ve moved recently, you may want to double check that the address change has been updated on your voter registration.
To find out your assigned polling place, check online through USA.gov or through local officials.
Through the Voting Info Project website, residents are able to plug in their registered voting address in a search bar to determine the location and hours of their assigned polling location.
When to vote on Election Day:
The opening and closing times of polling places vary from state to state.
Polls in most areas open at either 6 a.m. or 7 a.m., while poll closing times range from 6 p.m. to as late as 9 p.m. local time.
Check the polling place hours in your home state to make sure you’re in line in time.
There’s an interactive version of this map online where you can click on your state to find out what time your polling stations close.
How to vote:
Once you know you assigned polling location, what time it’s open, and whether you’re registered to vote, you’re ready to head to the polls!
Well, almost — before you walk out the door, make sure you have proper identification.
Go online to see voter ID requirements by state.
At your polling station, there will be poll workers to assist you with the process. They will direct you to the check-in counters and point out which booth to enter once you’re checked in.
Do some research ahead of time. Vote.org can give you a peek at your ballot so you know what to expect before you go behind the curtain.